Work Outs: July 11 – 17, 2021 (Book in the Forest)

I got out of the habit of posting my workouts as I shifted focus to my book publishing project with most of my online activity taking place on my new Redwood Press site. That is going well and although I’m still focused on it, I think it is best that I get back into the habit of posting my weekly workout log. I like working out a lot so I still train even when I’m not keeping records, but if I don’t have a plan then I tend to do the fun stuff and not do the stuff that isn’t as much fun. As is often the case with many things in life, it is the “not fun” stuff that seems to align most closely with my current goals.*

Sun, July 11th

Afternoon Walk: 6.07 miles. Calories: 2810, Protein: 171 g.

We’ve seen this book perched up in a tree for the last three weeks now, when we do one of our usual hikes. The second week I told my husband, “I’m going to take that book if it is still here next week,” and sure enough it was. So I grabbed it and put it in my pack.

I flipped through it later, when we were having a water break, and noticed that someone had torn various pages out, seemingly randomly, which was too bad because I was looking forward to reading the book.** Like my husband said, “It is a shame, but when you gotta go, you gotta go.” I ended up putting the book back where we found it a few days later.

Mon, July 12th

  • Morning Walk: 3.26 miles.
  • Warmed up for afternoon workout with the 1 lb. indian clubs and dynamic stretching.
  • Ring Rows: 45° x 4 sets x 8 reps
  • Lat Pull Downs (hog bar): 60 lbs. x 4 sets x 8 reps
  • Sandbag (100 lbs.) and Fitness Rock:
    • (Set One) Picked up bag from 16″ platform and walked it outside (40 steps) to the tailgate of our Land Cruiser.
    • (Set Two) Picked up bag from tailgate (~31″) and held in bear hug hold for 30 seconds.
    • (Set Three) Picked fitness rock up from ground and threw it up and back, over my shoulder in an explosive manner. I did this for 8 repetitions.
    • (Set Four): Sandbag Bear Hug Hold: 30 seconds.
    • (Set Five): Threw fitness rock over shoulder x 8 reps
    • (Set Six): Picked up bag from tailgate and walked it 45 steps back to where it lives inside of our basement.
  • DB Curls: 20 lbs. x 4 sets x 12 reps
  • Ended the workout with some static stretching.

Calories: 1974, Protein: 158 g.

Tues, July 13th

Recumbent Bike: 30 Minutes, Hill Program, Level 10. RPM’s: 70 – 80. Did some dynamic and static stretching afterward.

Calories: 2203, Protein: 144 g.

A shot up through some young redwoods during a water and peanut break on the trail at Henry Cowell State Park, Felton, California (USA).

Wed, July 14th

  • Morning Walk: 3.26 miles.
  • Afternoon workout. I warmed up with some dynamic stretching.
  • Landmine Squats: Bar x 4 sets x 15 reps
  • Romanian Dead Lifts: 75 lbs. x 4 sets x 12 reps
  • Finished the workout with some static stretching.

Thur, July 15th

  • Morning Walk: 3.26 miles.
  • Afternoon Workout: warmed up with 1 lb. indian clubs and dynamic stretching.
  • Arnold Press: 30 lbs. x 4 sets x 8 reps
  • Lateral Raises: 12 lbs. x 4 sets x 8 reps
  • BB Bench Press: 65 lbs. x 8 reps, 75 lbs. x 8 reps, 85 lbs. x 8 reps, 95 lbs. x 8 reps
  • (Superset): Tricep Pushdowns (rope): 25 lbs. x 4 sets x 8 reps +
    • Set #1: Dead Bugs (2-ct): 12 reps
    • Set #2: Standing Side Crunches (2-ct): 12 reps
    • Set #3: Light Spring Bar: Hands Pronated x 12 reps + Hands Supinated x 12 reps
    • Set #4: Face Pulls: 15 lbs. x 12 reps

Ended the workout with some static stretching. Calories: 2213, Protein: 124 g.

Fri, July 16th

Morning Walk: 3.26 miles.

  • (Morning) Captains of Crush Gripper (Trainer, 100 lbs.):
    • (Set 1): Left = 4 mm x 4 + 1 reps, Right = 4mm x 5 reps
    • (Set 2): Left = 4 mm x 3 + 2 reps, Right = 4mm x 5 reps
    • (Set 3): Left = 4 mm x 3 + 2 reps, Right = 4mm x 5 reps
    • (Set 4): Left = 4 mm x 1 + 4 reps, Right = 4mm x 5 reps
    • (Set 5): Left/Right (Guide Gripper, 50 lbs.) = kept fully closed holding piece of paper for 20/40 seconds

Calories: 2019, Protein: 137 g.

Sat, July 17th

  • Recumbent Bike: 30 Minutes, Hill Program, Level 10. RPM’s: 70 – 85. For the last couple of minutes I pedaled as fast as I safely could at times; I think I peaked around 146 rpm’s. I could have probably beaten that if I still had the foot clips that came with the bike, but those are long lost since most of the time I don’t like using them.
  • Cossack Squats (4-point using bench): 10 reps
  • Dead Bugs (2-ct): 20 reps
  • Walking Lunges: 10 reps
  • Taekwondo Snap Kick/Leg Extension Exercise (ea. leg): 10 reps
  • Hindu Squats: 20 reps
  • Sumo Squats with Leg Abduction (4-ct): 10 reps
  • Pinch Grip Lift (Hub): 12 lbs. x 4 sets x 10 secs
  • Concluded with some dynamic and static stretching. Worked some on the Tree Pose.

Calories: 2250, Protein: 106 g. (I am up 3.6 lbs. since I stopped tracking my workouts in mid-April. My total loss thus far is 29.4 lbs.)

* Case in point are the Captains of Crush grippers. I don’t particularly enjoy training with these (my husband loves them) but I do enjoy the results I get from using them. I achieved one of my gripper goals back in February but have been very spotty in my CoC training since I stopped recording my workouts. Now I can’t do what I did back in February. I’ve still been working on my grip—mainly through using the steel mace and some other things, which I do enjoy—and while those fun things are good for building strong hands, they aren’t a replacement for the specific benefit one gets from the grippers.

** Not enough to see if I could get the book from the library or buy it.

“Valhalla is a Lie” by Benjamin Thomas chosen for The Lost Librarian’s Grave horror anthology

We signed our first author for the anthology. I posted this on the Redwood Press site and am reblogging it over here.

Redwood Press

Don and I are pleased to announce that Benjamin Thomas’ excellent short story, “Valhalla is a Lie,” will appear in The Lost Librarian’s Grave anthology.

As Benjamin says himself, nothing like a “little valkyrie-inspired wasteland horror due out right before Halloween!” We agree, nothing says Halloween quite like murderous valkyries.

 Benjamin is a fellow New Englander and his short fiction has appeared in a variety of publications. His medical thriller and crime novel, Jack Be Quick, is available from Owl Hollow Press.

We will be announcing some more signings next week, including some poetry and possibly a couple more stories.

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What The . . . !

I thought this piece of High Cuisine by John (or John’s wife, rather) of Just Needs Varnish! was pretty awesome so I thought I’d share it, and thank you to John for permission to do so.  I might have to try making it at some point, using all plant-based ingredients of course so my husband can have it. He has a birthday coming up soon — perhaps I will surprise him with a magnificent breakfast courtesy of John’s wife. 🙂

Just Needs Varnish!

My wife found this method of creating a special breakfast on a YouTube video, so we had a go at making it (well, she did, ’cause I’m pretty useless in the kitchen)!

Buy an uncut loaf of bread.

Cut the top off, hollow it out and then butter it.

Cook a boatload of healthy food for a breakfast or, better still, unhealthy food! There were also mushrooms and tomatoes to go with this lot, but they’re being kept warm while the serious frying goes on!

Stuff everything into the loaf and put the top on.

Carefully cut the loaf in half (only if you’re sharing – I was told I was sharing).

And voila!

Brilliant! Thoroughly enjoyed it! After all, an army marches on its stomach!

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Started new site for Redwood Press

I’ve been working on a site for Redwood Press, which is going to be the name we publish under. I plan on continuing to post writing updates here but I wanted a separate place where I’m not also talking about miniatures, working out or recipes. My husband and I made a long list of names and decided on Redwood mainly because we live near redwoods and love them. Not sure that is a good basis for a name but there you have it.

Below is the general logo I plan on using for now. The website is pretty small, since this is the beginning, but like anything else it will grow in time.

I put up some writer’s guidelines and much to my surprise this morning I had over 50 stories in my inbox and I’ve gotten another 12 today so far. That was encouraging and a much greater response than I anticipated for the day after going live.

I’ve been pretty busy with this but I have managed to pick away a little each day on the Paint the Crap You Already Own! roundup. I hope to have it done by the end of the month or at the latest before the current Solstice painting challenge closes.

Have some painters coming tomorrow to paint three rooms where we tore out the carpet and put down faux wood flooring. That seems like a good time to go find a corner somewhere amongst the piles of stuff, that we had to take out of our rooms, and read some stories. Hope one of them is a really good gargoyle tale!

The Lost Librarian’s Grave: Gargoyle Cover

The sense that I’m getting is the gargoyle cover is the most popular of the original three both from the comments I’ve seen on this blog and from running them by people I know, who don’t read the blog. So I did some tweaks over the weekend on the gargoyle covers and this is what I’ve come up with so far.

I fiddled around with some filters and made the gargoyle and rusty reptiles a little more vibrant, which I like better than the original. The cover on the far right is the same one from the original post but with said filters applied. Dave of Faith & Steel, when he was commenting on the original covers, wrote that he was “ambivalent” on the framing of the original picture. I thought about what he said and decided it would be fun to get rid of the framing and see how it looked.

I’m not sure which one I currently like the best, but the one on the left, where I took out the stone background, does seem like I could put a small block of text in the middle right area. Perhaps a list of some of the authors or something like that. I don’t know if I will do that, assuming I go with that design, but it is something to think about.

If anyone has any further ideas or observations about the covers, I welcome your comments.*

Imagine being petrified but fully aware in this form for hundreds of years!**

I kind of have gargoyles on the brain now. I’ve been trying to think of some good short stories that I’ve read featuring gargoyles and I have to admit that nothing comes to mind. I even went back through my reading diary, where I’ve been keeping track of my reading since 2010 — nothing there either.

I did find a couple of things on Amazon. The first is a short story called “The Beast Within” by D.F. Holland, that I was able to download for free. I’ll probably read that tonight. The second is a collection by Clark Ashton Smith called The Maker of Gargoyles and Other Stories. Some of the reviewers say it isn’t his best work, but I am considering picking up the e-book anyway since I’m a fan of Smith. Especially his poetry.

My next steps with the anthology are to continue work on the new website and to put together some writer’s guidelines. Speaking of guidelines, I’ll have to remember to mention that I’d love to read some gargoyle stories. Hope everyone is doing well.

* Thank you to everyone who responded thus far. I value and appreciate your opinions.

** Photo of “Gargoyles Magdalen College Oxford England” by Chris Creagh. I made no changes. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribuion-Share Alike 3.0.

“The Lost Librarian’s Grave” Horror Anthology

I have been setting the wheels in motion toward starting a small press where I publish speculative fiction in e-book and possibly print formats. The first effort will be a short story anthology with the unlikely title of The Lost Librarian’s Grave. The collection will feature stories of “doom, sorcery and premature burial,” which are themes dear to my Chaos Lady heart.

I put together three front covers this afternoon and thought I’d share them and ask which (if any) works the best. I would very much appreciate your opinion, if you have one! As usual, if you click on an image you’ll see a larger version.

My next moves involve working on another WordPress site specifically dedicated to my publishing efforts and also some writer’s guidelines so I can put the word out to writers, who might be interested in sending me their work. I will smile favorably on science horror, dark fantasy and the like because there are many dark jewels that are horror stories, mined by solitary dwarves, hideous in their waxing greed … tales of loss and murder plucked on harps by spurned lovers wringing out their hearts in songs of revenge and regret, and weird fantasies of sentient, well, you get the idea.

The plan is to release The Lost Librarian’s Grave in late September or early October. Such tales seem apropos for the upcoming season.

Painting-wise, I’ve started putting together the “Paint the Crap You Already Own!” round-up. These round-up’s end up being pretty sizeable so I’ve found the best and most fun way to do them (like publishing as it turns out) is to work a little on them each day.

The Summer Solstice Painting Challenge

This painting challenge ends on June 20th.*

It is time for the next painting challenge with the second annual “Paint the Crap You Already Own!” painting challenge just ended. So I thought I’d announce a May-June challenge before I get started with the “Paint the Crap You Already Own!” round-up.

For this challenge, I’m looking for pictures of whatever single model you think is the best one that you finished anytime between May 3rd and June 20th, which just happens to be the summer solstice at least in the northern hemisphere where I live. You may also do a diorama for this challenge.

By “best” this can mean whatever you want it to mean: the best paint job, the model you like the most, or any other criteria you wish to apply. The reasons are yours but remember there can only be one best model.

For example, Toad here is one of my favorite miniatures not because of the paint job but because I like the miniature and I’ve built up a fondness for him using him a lot as I have in games of D&D as well as a marker/mascot for my Nurgle army back when I was playing a lot of 40K.

Rules of the Challenge

  • The challenge closes at the end of the summer solstice: June 20, 2021 at midnight (your local time).  If you can’t get your pictures posted by that date, it is fine.  Just post them as soon as you can.
  • A model is eligible for the challenge if it is completed between May 3rd and June 20th, 2021.
  • I’m looking to only see a single model per artist for this challenge. Instead of a single model, you may complete a single diorama for this challenge.
  • Questions and/or ideas?  Let me know in the comments.

* Photo of “Stonehenge in your face” by Simon Wakefield. Licensed under Creative Commons 2.0.

“Neglected But Not Forgotten” Painting Challenge Round-up (March 2021)

The challenge for March was for people to dig into their pile of models and paint something they had owned for at least a year. I think most miniature painters, who have been at it awhile, have no general shortage of such models. the collector’s bug tends to hit model builders pretty strongly, no matter what they generally like to paint.

Many thanks to the eighteen artists who took part in the challenge. As always, in many cases, if you click on a picture the link will take you to a larger view. If I have accidentally omitted anyone’s work, please let me know and I’ll add you in. I made a list of everyone and checked it trice but you never know.

Steve, of Dreadaxe Games, begins our round up with his rendering of the mighty Inquisitor Coteaz. Steve says he “bought this figure maybe 9 or so years ago,” so it is neglected and then some.

Coteaz has a lot to recommend him: two-handed eagle cyborg mascot, lots of special abilities that made me weep real tears back in 5th edition, his magic hammer, and apparently a stern but calming demeanor. The inquisitor apparently helped Steve, in a small way, through a rough patch, which you’ll have to read about in his blog if you want to know more.

Marouda says that she is fairly new to miniature painting but she isn’t new to artistic endeavors in general and I think it shows in her work. She saw this challenge and Monster March, put on by Path of an Outcast. Between that and Azazel asking, “are you going to paint a model?” she decided that she was. After all, what is the worst that could happen, she thought.

I’d say it all turned out very well with this trio. The first is Giant Iguana from the Bad Squiddo Shieldmaiden Kickstarter from 2018.

This treant is far and way my favorite of Marouda’s work. She did a great job on it and I like the base very much as well as all of the vegetation extras she added to the miniature. The beard is a nice touch and I think adding the crown of green is much nicer than the bare branches of the unmodified miniature.

As you can see, the treant is pretty good sized.

Finally, Marouda painted this rather grotesque Maggotcrown Bonesack, produced by Reaper miniatures. She points out “how easily this miniature crosses genres,” and based on her picture below I’d have to agree with her.

Azazel, of Azazel’s Bitz Box and a most prolific painter, comes in this month with 13 entries. We’ll take a look at his five Dungeons & Dragons-based offerings and see the rest at the end of the round-up.

These four cute (but murderous) frog people are called Grung, from the “Waterdeep Dungeon of the Mad Mage” board game. I like the bright lime green Azazel used for their skin, which he details in his post.

They are “assassins” with the bowfrog being an “elite warrior.”

Muiral the Misshapen is another miniature from the Mad Mage set. Muiral was a warrior, who engaged in magical studies that in hindsight he probably should have avoided. He descended into madness, turned his odd experiments on himself with the result you see below. Azazel was going for a “boiled lobster red” with this guy. I’d say he most certainly achieved that effect and then some.

These goblins are from The Legend of Drizzt board game. Besides having pretty D&D board game sessions, with all of these sorts of miniatures that he as painted over the years, he also has a great collection if he feels like doing a tabletop roleplaying campaign.

Azazel painted this shadow dragon, Shimmergloom, which also from the Drizzt game.

Finally, from the Tomb of Annihilation board game, come a trio of Zorbos. They are apparently vicious koala-looking beasties that can take on some aspects of their surroundings to make themselves more formidable in combat. For example, they could take on the aspects of a stone cave they are in to increase their general toughness.

That is all well and good, but I do have to say these three don’t look terribly vicious. I’d say they’ve probably eaten too much bamboo and eucalyptus and just want a nap.

Eric, of Candore et Labore, painted this Warhammer Carnosaur, which was “epoxied together and primed black with cheap Walmart spray paint,” just before his wargaming group dissolved in the early 2000’s. So this beast has been hibernating for a long time indeed, which seems appropriate somehow for an ancient dragon.

I like Eric’s choice of colors for the dragon and love the base.

The carnosaur missed out on being “the big bad center piece of a bunch of large reptiles” for Eric’s youngest son’s army but I’m sure the beast is a lot happier in its new home than it was ratting around the bitz box for 17 years!

Blaxkleric (or Blax the Kleric), of Fantorical, offers up a White Gorilla produced by North Star Military Figures as part of their “Frostgrave” range. This beast is “known to leave their nest deep in the ruins of the Frozen City in order to hunt, these formidably-sized animals ‘are not above eating human flesh.'”

Blax also painted this steathy-looking FedSec Trooper from Crooked Dice Games Design Studio. He obtained the figure from “their now out-of-production Federated Security Starter Set,” and painted him to evoke a “Federation trooper” from the BBC science fiction television series Blake’s Seven.”

Daniel, Infinity player and local Imperial Guard Commander operating out the Santa Cruz Sector and Infinity player, painted this older sculpt of Gabriel DeFersen from Infinity by Corvus Belli. Gabriel “is one of the last templar knights,” who were broken up this time for the sin of creating artificial intelligence. Daniel relates that Defersen does well in games and has “got all the based covered” but you’ll have to pay a premium for his utility.

Does he seem a little disgruntled or is it just me?

Dave, of Faith & Steel, is adding some walls to his gaming table for his upcoming WW2-based games. This gate and accompanying walls are produced by Rubicon Models. As you can see from the pictures the walls will block line-of-sight nicely. Plus they’ll be good for any battles fought in Melbourne, Australia where “it is just about a law to paint ironwork green.”

I wouldn’t mind a gate like that at my house and, yes, I’d paint it green.

Marvin, of Suburban Militarism, painted these ten 1:72 scale Saxon soldiers, produced by Mars. Each line of five models represents a regiment “of the Saxon army during the Great Northern War.” The front rank in the picture below is “the Kurprinz Regiment.”

The fellows in blue are “Martinière’s Grenadier Regiment.” Check out Marvin’s post if you want to read more about his historical sources (or lack thereof) for the uniforms. As he says, oftentimes “details are scarce,” and he had to use his own judgment.

Marvin painted two more regiments before the month was through. The men in the front rank, below, represent Zeitz’ Regiment. They were “apparently disbanded in 1705 just prior to the Saxon army’s heavy defeat by the Swedes at the Battle of Fraustadt the following year.”

These models represent Hayn’s Grenadiers. The red and yellow piping on the back are Marvin’s “own invention.” He relates that “as key source Daniel Schorr wrote that it was unknown whether the battalion even wore grenadier caps.” Whatever the case, I think they work well with the rest of the uniform.

Marvin’s final offering for the challenge is this 54mm Worcestershire Yeomanry sergeant circa 1900. This piece is one of his “54mm Yeomanry Cavalry Project.” The model was manufactured by Mitrecap Miniatures. Marvin reports that Mitrecap’s source material for this model is 50 Years of Yeomanry Uniforms by R.G. Harris, plate No. 29 by Edmund A. Campbell.

John, of Just Needs Varnish, added two more models to his vast (I’m sure) collection of armored vehicles: a Czech S-I-d tankette (the one on the left) and a French R35 light tank. The Czech tankette is 1/72 and the R35 is 1/75 scale. John writes more at length about these models in a later post for any who are interested.

We’ll conclude our historical foray for the painting challenge with a bit of historical fiction by Mark, of Man of Tin, who refurbished some very rusty figures after watching the 1967 comedy film, The Magnificent Two, which is “set in the fictional 1960s South American ImagiNation of Parazuellia.” He decided the figures would make a good pipe and drum band for his Parazuellian Womens’ Revolutionary Army, complete with a reviewing general.

You can check out Mark’s post if you want to see the condition of the miniatures before he put refurbished them. He writes more about their uniforms in another post.

Tom Douglass, the owner of Dragon Den Games in Stockton, California, tackled a large project this month in the person of Mortarion of The Death Guard. He had fun and it was “easily the biggest project” he’d ever done. The daemon primarch was smaller than the imperial knight he completed last summer but a lot more detailed.

Tom had fun with the base too, adding “extra skulls and goo” and so forth. He even “made sure to always add everything in seven’s because how could I not?” Good man. How not indeed!

Despite completing the mammoth task of putting together and painting Mortarion, Tom still had some painting left to do for March. Some of his friends are “starting to pick up Tyranids,” so he painted up a mob of termagants. He had worked on the models some years ago and wasn’t happy with them. So Tom redid them using the new Games Workshop Contrast paints, which do seem to be perfect for batch painting things like termagants.

Wudugast, of Convert or Die, completed four miniatures for the challenge. They’d make an unlikely group to be thrown together by fortune for a time in, say, a The Magnificent Four or The Dirty Quartet type of scenario.

Wudugast doesn’t know the origins of this Orc Champion, but he’s had him for more than a decade now. The model does remind him of the work “produced by Rackham for the – sadly defunct and much missed – game Confrontation.”

Larsen van der Grauss was “released as part of the Kill Team: Rogue Trader set” and as “a Lectro-Maester” within the Adeptus Mechanicus. This “means he’s a prospector charged with seeking out new sources of power for the forge worlds.” The sculpt certainly isn’t lacking for detail!

This Data-Scrivener is another representative from Necromunda and an example of “futuristic hackers who specialize in stealing data from the hive’s ancient cogitators and manipulating them to suit their purposes.” Wudugast decided to paint the figure when he saw it in the House of Artifice book.

Corwyn the Hunchback is the last of our quadrumvirate and probably my favorite sculpt, mainly because I have a thing for evil magic-using types. He’s another neglected model having remained unpainted “since the late 2000’s,” and is an “evil shaman from Rackham’s Drune Kelt range.” It has taken quite some time but as Wudugast wrote, “the evil old bastard is finished at last.”

Matt, of pmpainting, painted four miniatures for the challenge. The first is Lord Karghoul, produced by Hasslefree Miniatures. I agree with Matt, who wrote that Karghoul “certainly has that ‘evil warrior vibe about him.”

Matt also painted this Space Goblin Commando by Reaper Miniatures. He wasn’t sure what he’d do with a space goblin commando but named him Globrik. Matt thinks he might go back and do some more work on him but isn’t sure if he should “try to tart Globrik up or just get on with something else.” I’ll be curious to read what he decides to do.

This Post Apocalyptic Hunter is my favorite of Matt’s four offerings for the challenge, who he has named Trevor. I’m not sure if this chap looks like a Trevor or not, but there it is. I thought he did a good job on the urban camouflage. The mask is a bit of freehand that I thought was an effective addition to the piece.

This is the metal version of Reaper’s Aina the Valkyrie. Matt acquired the miniature in late 2019, got it 70% painted and then “kind of just gave up.” He isn’t sure why. I particularly like the hair and also favor the shiny scale armor.

The kit gives one the choice between a spear and a sword for Aina. I think Matt chose correctly because I think it would have looked a little odd for our valkyrie to brandish her sword while she has a second sword in the scabbard. One could say it was the sword from an enemy or something else, but I think it is just better to give her the spear.

Plague Gardening painted this Princess Leia miniature from West End Games. He bought the model in 1987 and has completed her after “an impressive 33 to 34 years in my collection.” I think he did a good job with the shading for Leia’s white robe. He painted her base white to go along with his other Star Wars models, which you can see in his Princess Leia post.

David, of Scent of a Gamer, started painting this wizard “maybe 20 years ago.” The model was a freebee “on the cover of a White Dwarf magazine,” which he bought several copies of to “get as many different wizards as possible.” This is an interesting piece: I like how the wizard’s clothing sort of evokes something of a fantasy European Renaissance look juxtaposed with a beard that looks like he’s been using his magic to travel back to Bronze Age so he can hang out in Sumer.

Dave Stone, of Wargames Terrain Workshop, finished his wing of four land speeders. First up is this Land Speeder Tsunami. I think that the freehand work on the vertical stabilizer adds quite a bit of interest; especially when several speeders are displayed together.

Dave also did quite a bit of painting for his Battlefleet Gothic fleets. I don’t know too much about the game and I’m not terribly familiar with the ships, but I do know a Space Marine battle barge when I see one. This one is from the Night Hawks chapter and give him four barges.

Next up are four Strike Cruisers. There are “normally six in a fleet” but Dave’s Night Hawks “lost two to the warp.” Maybe they’ll turn up someday. Hopefully they won’t be painted pink and have grown lots of waving space tentacles or pointy bits during their wanderings. You know, after all, how impressionable these space marines can be at times.

These ships “are the three classes of escort ship” put out by Forgeworld “to use instead of the Imperial escorts.”

Dave tells me that these are also imperial ships, but that another version was released for the Eldar, which “were a lot sleeker.” I think these ships would make appropriate-looking logistics and support vessels.

Finally, we have a Desolator-class battleship, which Dave painted for his Emperor’s Children fleet. With five of these battleships, his chaos space marines have quite a formidable long range (if what I read about them is correct) threat going for themselves.

Tamor, of Dragons of Lancasm, painted this Hero Quest “gargoyle.” Tamor puts the name in quotes because he thinks the miniature is in fact a “second-rate Balrog.” I feel the old school balrog-bloodthirster vibe going on with this guy too. I also agree that this miniature would make a good “terrain piece, and potentially a construct (animated statue).”

Our balrog used to have a whip that Tamor carved off.

He also painted three squads of marines for his Space Crusade cooperative board game.

Finally, Tamor finished this orc. “He’s a bit paler than his brethren because he’s apparently been hiding with my skaven for at least a decade.”

Heretic 30K painted these ten miniatures – five heroes and five villains – from the Marvel Crisis Protocol starter set. He received them as a Christmas present in 2019 and they have been “collecting dust” until now.

Captain America’s shield is looking very crisp indeed!

“The figures are 40mm scale which makes them quite a bit larger than what most people are likely to already have in their modern terrain collections so it is handy that the starter includes a reasonable amount of scatter terrain too.”

Heretic had to assemble and paint the terrain as well.

We conclude the painting challenge by coming back to Azazel and his eight further entries. The first is a Varghulf Courtier from Citadel. Depending upon which lore you read, the Varghulf are “powerful Vampire Lords who have devolved into a permanently animalistic and bestial form,” or some type of ghoul-like creature.

Azazel painted a number of miniatures for Growing Hunger expansion of the Last Night on Earth board game. The first group of survivors are Kenny the Supermarket Bag Boy, Amanda the Prom Queen, Sam the Diner Cook and Detective Winters.

The next pair of Growing Hunger survivors are Mr. Goddard the Chemistry Teacher and Jade the High School Outcast. For Jade, he used “some of the Goth chicks I used to know in my own youth.”

The final pair of survivors are Stacy the Investigative Reporter and Victor the Escaped Prisoner. Azazel painted Stacy’s notepad to look like a tablet “to bring her into a slightly more modern timeframe” and because it would be fun to “see if I could make it look good.” It certainly does add some nice detail and a touch of verisimilitude to the model.

Azazel also completed this duo from Marvel Crisis Protocol, Rocket and Groot. He did some extra work on the bases “in order to really mess up the sidewalk where it’s been smashed in and smashed through by Groot’s extended arm.”

That extended arm thing is nifty.

I think it is cute that the angry raccoon’s weapon is much larger than he is. I suppose being a “master of weapons” he can handle it no problem.

I really like this Thrasher Snail by Reaper. Although I’m not buying miniatures very often these days, this is one I’d like to own. (I might go so far as to ask for it as a birthday present this year.) The production model comes with a bunch of what Azazel calls (and I agree from what I see) “poorly-cast flails.” I think his solution of using a “lovely twisted unicorn-style horn” was a much better solution and if I ever get this miniature I’ll do something similar.

Love the shell.

Next up are “Lucius” and “Seth” from Zombicide. I like how the game includes a “zombified” version of each character, which, as Azazel points out in the comments, “can be used as action versions, wounded versions or just extra-nasty zombies in various games as needed!”

We conclude the round up with “Ross” and Phil” also from Zombicide. I particularly like the zombified Ross (aka John Goodman) for some reason. Probably because I like the actor. Azazel relates that the idea of characters as zombies was “to let players who had been killed keep playing.” They never used those rules and instead “played with however many survivors the scenario called for and doubled up when there were more survivors than players – and then we would just hand off a character if someone was unlucky enough to die.”

Well done, Azazel. Thirteen entries and thirty-six completed models. Not too shabby at all!

Much thanks to everyone who participated in the “Neglected” March challenge. The next painting challenge, for May and June, is going to be “The Summer Solstice Painting Challenge,” which begins in May and closes on the Summer Solstice (first day of summer), which is June 20th at midnight (your local time). The idea will be to exhibit a single miniature or diorama that you think is your best or you like the most, which you completed between May 1st and June 20th.

I am thinking of doing a dragon-based painting challenge for July since my mind has been turning to all things draconic lately. I’m looking into to doing a Kickstarter-based anthology of short stories along the theme of dragons. It is all currently in the research and planning stages for now but I’ve been moving forward with the project a little each day.

Work Outs: April 11 – 17, 2021 (Quick & Easy, Vegan Curry using Patak’s Rogan Josh simmer sauce)

We have a number of meals, that I make during the week, that we often cycle through because we like them, they are reasonably healthful, and most importantly — they are quick and easy to make. A winning combination! One of those weekly meals is a curry of some sort. This week I used Patak’s Rogan Josh Curry sauce.*

One has a lot of flexibility making these curries. The ingredients I used this time around was based on what I had available. You can easily change the quantities or use different ingredients altogether. Much like with the Hoover Stew and the Chickpea Tangine, this is a very flexible meal.

Yogurt is a nice addition if diary is on the menu.

Ingredient List

  • One 15 oz. (420 grams) jar of Patak’s “Rogan Josh Curry” simmer sauce.
  • One cup of dried TVP. I used “Just Like Chicken brand” by Whole Provisions, but any type will do.
  • One 15.5 oz. (434 gram) can of green peas. (Fresh or frozen are nice too.)
  • 3 oz. (84 grams) of Chickpeas
  • Four ounces (112 grams) of Sliced Bella or White Mushrooms
  • One ounce (28 grams) of Unsweetened Shredded Coconut
  • One medium or large Onion, chopped.
  • Salt and Pepper to taste.
  • (Optional) One to two ounces (28 – 56 grams) of Sliced Almonds
  • (Optional) Harissa sauce to taste.

The list above is what I added based on what I had in the refrigerator. What you use and the amounts can vary depending upon what you have on hand and what you enjoy eating. For example, if you like meat I think chicken, pork or lamb would go very nicely with this meal instead of TVP. I am also thinking vegetables like cauliflower and broccoli would be nice additions as would a green onion garnish.

How to Cook

  • Reconstitute TVP according to package directions. In general this involves mixing together equal amounts of dried TVP and hot water and then microwaving for about 5 minutes. Then check the consistency and allow for more time until the product has reached the desired softness.
  • Sautee onion and mushrooms using your oil of choice or even just a little water in a non-stick pan if you are trying to avoid the added calories. (I used olive oil spray.)
  • Add in all other ingredients except the sauce and mix them together. (I included half of the almonds and then sprinkled the other half on top as a garnish.) Add the sauce and mix again.
  • Cover and simmer until heated through.
  • Serve with rice or naan. We had some garlic naan on hand, so I used that.

I discovered Harissa a few months ago courtesy of Shinta Simon of Caramel Tinted Life. It adds a decent amount of spiciness and a deep, red color to whatever you add it to.

I find it particularly useful because my husband likes extremely spicy food and I like food mild to medium. This recipe today I would characterize as medium to my palate, which to my husband would be hopelessly mild. So I mixed two tablespoons of Harissa into his portion, which jazzed the meal up considerably and made both of us happy.

I add a side of yogurt when I want to to ameliorate the heat between bites and add some tang and character to a meal.

Mon, April 12th

  • Morning Walk: 3 miles, after which we did a little balance work.
  • Captains of Crush Gripper (Trainer, 100 lbs.):
    • (Set 1): Left = 4 mm x 5 reps, Right = Closed x 3 + 2 reps
    • (Set 2): Left = 4 mm x 3 + 2 reps, Right = 2 mm x 5 reps
    • (Set 3): Left = 4 mm x 3 + 2 reps, Right = Closed 3 + 2 reps
    • (Set 4): Left = 4 mm x 4 + 1 reps, Right = Closed 3 + 2 reps
  • Pinch Grip Lift (Hub): 15 lbs. x 10 sec, 15.25 lbs. x 2 sets x 10 sec, 15.5 lbs x (left 3 sec, right 10 sec)
  • Arnold Presses: 35 lbs. x 6 reps, 30 lbs. x 3 sets x 8 reps
  • (Super Set) DB Lateral Raises: 10 lbs. x 4 sets x 12 reps +

Calories: 2113, Protein: 139 g.

Tues, April 13th

I went down to the court at the bottom of the hill near where I live and shot some hoops for about 30 minutes with an almost new-looking basketball I found at the thrift store. I made a point to run around to keep my heart rate up. I worked on some drills and concluded by playing Horse against myself. (I won.)**

Calories: 2127, Protein: 140 g.

Wed, April 14th

  • Morning Walk: 2.26 miles.
  • I did one set of the MV Workout with my 10 lb. mace. I had to hike my hands up the handle of the mace a bit on the barbarian squats. My eventual goal there is to do those with my hands gripping the bottom of the handle. I didn’t have to with the 360’s but I really felt them in my hands and forearms.
  • After this I did: Swing & Catch and Alternating Swing & Catch, Mace Bicep Curls, Mace Reverse Curls, Taekwondo Leg Extension/Snap Kick Exercise. Did 10 reps (each side) for each exercise except for the kicks, where I did 20. Also worked in some dynamic stretching.

Calories: 2413, Protein: 154 g.

Thur, April 15th

  • Afternoon Walk: 4.58 miles.
  • I did some work with both my 1 and 2 lb. indian clubs.
  • BB Bench Press (full stop): 75 lbs. x 4 sets x 8 reps
    • It has been over a year since I have bench pressed with a barbell because of the gyms closing down for the pandemic, so I was very conservative with this exercise.
  • Incline Overhead Tricep Extension: 15 lbs. x 15 reps, 20 lbs. x 3 sets x 12 reps
  • Captains of Crush Gripper (Trainer, 100 lbs.):
    • (Set 1): Left = 4 mm x 5 reps, Right = Closed x 4 + 1 reps
    • (Set 2): Left = 4 mm x 3 + 2 reps, Right = Closed 2 + 3 reps
    • (Set 3): Left = 4 mm x 3 + 2 reps, Right = 2mm 6 + 1reps
    • (Set 4): Left = 4 mm x 3 + 2 reps, Right = Closed 1 + 4 reps
    • (Set 5): Left/Right (Guide Gripper, 50 lbs.) = kept fully closed for 30 seconds
  • Board Hand Holds (each hand): 1.75 lbs.
    • Pronated: 2 sets x 30 seconds
    • Supinated: 90 seconds

Calories: 2113, Protein: 124 g.

Fri, April 16th

  • Morning Walk: 2.19 miles. Afterwards, we did some balance work. Calories: 2321, Protein: 132 g.
  • Full Squats: One set of 30 reps, then 70 reps (rest-pause as needed) = 100 reps
  • Dead Bugs (2-ct): One set of 37 reps, then 63 reps (rest-pause as needed) = 100 reps
  • (Super Set):
    • Standing Cable Leg Curls (ea. leg): 20 lbs. x 4 sets x 12 reps
    • Standing Calf Raises: 4 sets x 20 reps
  • I followed along with the “30-Minute Recumbent Bike Workout” video on the Vive Health channel, which I’ve done a few times now over the past couple of months. During the workout the presenter has one get off the bike three times and do some squats. For my three sets I did 10 Cossack Squats for the first, 10 Leg Extension Exercise (each leg) for the second, and finally 20 Taekwondo Front Snap Kicks.
  • I worked a little on foot dorsiflexion with the cable machine and then did the Muay Thai “Front Teep” lesson on the site.
  • I concluded the workout with some stretching and Yoga poses, including the Cat-Cow and Cobra poses, which both seem to do good things for my spine.

Sat, April 17th

  • Sandbag (100 lbs.) and Fitness Rock:
    • (Set One) Picked up bag from 16″ platform and walked it outside (40 steps) to the tailgate of our Land Cruiser.
    • (Set Two) Picked up bag from tailgate (~31″) and held in bear hug hold for 45 seconds.
    • (Set Three) Picked fitness rock up from ground and threw it up and back, over my shoulder with the idea of building explosiveness. I did this for 8 repetitions.
    • (Set Four): Sandbag Bear Hug Hold: 45 seconds.
    • (Set Five): Threw fitness rock over shoulder x 8 reps
    • (Set Six): Picked up bag from tailgate and walked it 40 steps back to where it lives inside of our basement.
    • (Set Seven): I walked down the street with my fitness rock on my shoulder, to the yellow 5 mph speed limit sign and then jog-walked back uphill to my house. (I switched shoulders a couple of times.) The trip took 3:07 minutes.

Calories: 2250, Protein: 106 g. (My weight didn’t change from last week. My total loss thus far remains 32.0 lbs.)

* If eating plant-based is important to you, then I recommend carefully reading the labels with these products. Some of them have milk products and some don’t. Many of the labels on these sorts of products list them as “vegetarian,” which includes lacto-ovo vegetarian eating, which can be problematic if like my husband you are trying to avoid dairy.

My husband started laughing when I showed him Patak’s simmer sauce. I wondered what could possibly be funny about a jar of curry sauce when he said, “I wonder what Worf would think of eating this brand?” “Very droll,” I replied. “Perhaps you should ask him the next time you talk to him?” “I’ll do that,” he said with a nod and wandered off.

** I didn’t cheat. Not badly anyway.

Dragon Egg Gazette, Issue 4

Issue 4: April 22, 2021

A student newspaper that was part of the “Enchanted Forest” D&D campaign. 

From the Dragon Egg Public Library

by Biri Blackwing & Thulunil Ummair

  • “No One Ever Fails in a Universe of Tables,” by Noah Burton. Published by Outlook Springs, Issue #1.
    • An interesting, short poem. Although this runs counter to classical elfish aesthetics, we appreciate how the poet develops the idea of “tables” and packs a lot into eleven lines. Thulunil says that the poem would be even better if the theme was developed over a couple of hundred pages but I think it is perfect just the way it is!
  • “Curiosity,” by Mingpei Li. Published by Outlook Springs, Issue #5.
    • A science fiction poem that looks at the Curiosity rover from an angle of mortality. I liked this one too and think that outer planar human poetry is super keen. Thulunil said that he “didn’t get it at all,” but what do you expect from a guy who thinks that being “only” couple of centuries old is young?
  • “3 Minutes” by Adam Walker. Published by Daily Science Fiction.
    • We had to look up what an “app” was, among other words, but we both enjoyed this story. Both of us like studying magic, so we can appreciate the unintended consequences of one’s creations and spells. Just like Miss Huethea Elmoira said in her Practical Divination class, “Be careful when you look into the future. You might want to know … just not when you think you do!”
  • Sharpe’s Prey by Bernard Cromwell.
    • Jenn of The Tragic life and thoughts of an Inquisitor, wrote a book review of Sharpe’s Prey. The book is the fifth in a series by Bernard Cromwell, following the exploits of one Richard Sharpe during the Napoleonic Wars. I won’t say too much here except that I thought the book was a fun page turner and it was enjoyable seeing how Sharpe was both similar and different than the character in the television series. Check out Jenn’s review if you want to read an in depth treatment. This isn’t a book I would have naturally picked up but my dad enjoys viewing historical fiction in general and the Sharpe television series in particular in his scrying pool, which was how I learned about Cromwell’s work.
  • The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry
    • A classic bit of short fiction that we both enjoyed as children. I recently picked it up again when Thulunil said he wanted “to write a reverse Gift of the Magi story.” I wasn’t sure what he meant by that, so I put in my request to the Outer Planar Extra-Library Loan Department and got my claws onto a copy of the original.

A Short Interview with Ranger Garinthor’el Starsinger

by Biri Blackwing

Q: Tell us a little about yourself.  What is your full name and how long have you lived in Dragon Egg?  I hear you’re a wizard!  

Garin: My full name is Garinthor’el Starsinger, or that’s the translation of my familial name.  I was born in the Elven city Halcyn’or.  It’s several weeks journey from Dragon Egg.  My talent in the arcane arts was apparent even as a young child, so my family brought me to the Enchanted Forest 80 years ago to learn from the mages here.  The ingenuity with which they apply their art is most admirable.  My stay was meant to be short, perhaps a decade. However, the stars foretold a powerful portent that I must remain in Dragon Egg.

Ranger Garinthor’el Tinulindë

Q: For how long?  

Garin: The stars have yet to reveal that.  

Q:  What do think about being a magician helps you the most in your work as a ranger?  

Garin: Well, of course the arcane arts are ideal for the position of ranger.  While others have only the strength of their limbs, I wield the power all creation.  

Q: Who has been your greatest, positive influence in life so far, that affects your work as a ranger?  

Garin: The stars are the greatest influence in my life, young Biri.  Also, the half-elf lieutenant, who heads the arcane branch of the rangers, has been very helpful.  His expertise in wielding magic in the midst of combat is most impressive.  

Q:  What has been your greatest obstacle as a ranger?  

Garin:  Getting used to the rather short lifespans of the Dragonkin.  Just about the time you get to know a fellow ranger, they retire from service.  

Q: How do you like working with Special Squad Three?  Some people have started calling them “Fafnir’s Rangers.”  What do you think of that?  

Garin:  Hrrmmph … ‘Fafnir’s Rangers’ indeed.  A reckless lot.  The stars clearly foretold of dire outcomes, but they went on heedless of my warnings.  Don’t get me wrong, they’re a delightful bunch, just too reckless with their short lives.  

Q:  Is there anything else you’d like to add on a final note?  

Garin: If you have any pull with the merchants guild, ask them to import some superior vintages of Elven wine.  

Q:  Thank you for the interview, Sir.  

Garin: You are welcome.  I hope my insights will be enlightening for your readers.  


Túbal, of Túbal Villar – Virakotxas, is interested in selling his nicely painted Dark Angels. He has listed them on Ebay and provided a link to the auction from his page. The auction ends during the day on Wednesday, April 28th, 2021.

Our own Ann Wycoff, of Ann’s Immaterium, is holding her second annual “Paint the Crap You Already Own!” Painting and Hobby Challenge. The idea is to paint a model that you already owned as of April 1, 2021. It can be something old or something pretty new. This is a hobby challenge so you don’t have to paint models. You can do other things too that have nothing to do with painting miniatures. The challenge ends on May 2, 2021 at midnight (your local time).


Biri “Wondermist” Blackwing, Editor-in-Chief
Thulunil Ummair, Assistant Editor
Ann Wycoff, Contributing Editor/Outer Planes Correspondent